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             Terracotta - Rajasthan


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Introduction of Terracotta

Terracotta is an age - old craft of Rajasthan. Alwar create paper – thin Kagzi pottery, while red and white clay articles with arithmetical patterns are prepared in Pokaran. Good-looking terracotta wall decorations usually showing Lord Ganesh or local heroes come from Mulela. Bikaner is famous for its painted pottery, which is decorated with lac colors, while the stoneware of Jaisalmer is quite beautiful.

Terracotta art in Rajasthan is very significant in the State because for these villagers the worship of their terracotta deities is as basic and essential for survival as the jug of water which contains and carries water from the well to their homes in this dry land. It is said that terracotta art in Rajasthan is of excellent value right from the Mesolithic Age till the Gupta period. The Terracotta art works of Rajasthan are also known for its elaborative workmanship.

In Rajasthan terracotta images of the mother goddess showed in various incarnations are broadly worshipped by the tribals.As Goddess Durga she sits across a lion, as chamunda an elephant, mounted on a buffalo as kalika or holding a weapon as Aawanmata.The serpent God Nagadev has been worshipped in India since ancient times and the images usually have a central figure bounded with several snake consorts. Another popular male deity the potters make is Bhairav represented by two images signifying the deity’s omnipotence-Kala Bhairav and Gora Bhairav,the dark and the fair.Bhairav who bears a distinct similarity to the Lord Shiva, holds a trident, a thunderbolt, a head and a nose.

His mount is a dog and his image is installed in every temple with that of other gods and goddesses.Kala,cunning and strong willed, is satisfied by the offering of liquor and animal sacrifice while Gora,mild compassionate and vulnerable, is offered as sweetmeats.

The Ancient Civilization of Rajasthan

The ancient civilization of Rajasthan has also develop rural terracotta as offerings for various gods. The terracotta images and signs of Molela,near Udaipur,have gained appreciation in big towns and even abroad. This attractive craft has survived down the year because of the religious feelings of the tribals and the rural population.People from as far as jaipur come to Molela to look for the image of their deity. The journey to Molela,to pick up the idol, bless it and take it back for an installation ceremony is an detailed custom, guided by the subconscious mind of human sociology. These terracotta decorations are in great demand from local buyers in the month of January.

Ahore in Jalore district manufactures beautiful terracotta horses as religious offerings. These range from two to almost six feet in height, and April is the time when they are prepared in large numbers.

Temples can also be seen all over in Rural India; in small dark caves, in the middle of dense forests, on high hill tops, in the roots of gigantic trees, in open fields, by the wayside or in the village square, at the entrance of a home and even within the living space or courtyard of a family.

In Rajasthan the families of the Potter use two sources of clay from local ponds, a common one for making the plaques and a plastic one enemy throwing. Donkey Dung is collected by the women from the fields and added to the common clay in the ratio of 1:3 to make it appropriate for modeling. As with all potter families, there are strict divisions of labour within its members.

Colourful terracotta toys are a fast disappearing commodity, mostly found at the local fairs and haats.Bu is one such small village near Mundwa in Nagaur district whose terracotta toys and utensils are famous in the big and small fairs of Marwar.This toys use three techniques –the wheel, the mould and the hand –a tradition that dates back to the Harappan and Kalibangan civilization. Toy figures of the birds, camel, tigers, rabbit, deer, horse, and idols are famous in fairs around Merta as well as in Balotra (Barmer) and Sathin (Jodhpur).

                      Terracotta Art of Rajasthan                           Clay Terracotta Rajasthan
                     Terracotta Pots of Rajasthan                   Terracotta Models of Rajasthan

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